Bling the Children Back Home
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Bling the Children Back Home

Band Hip Hop Avant-garde


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Live Review 9-23-06 Tasty World, Athens GA"

Bling the Children Back Home
Tasty World
Athens, GA
September 23, 2006

What can be said about a band whose members resemble a cross between Parliament Funkadelic and the Beastie Boys? A whole lot. Bling the Children Back Home is the conglomeration of members from several Athens bands including Electa Villain, Dubconscious and Grogus.

Onstage, this supergroup made its intentions apparent: to bring the funk and have an outrageous time doing so. The crowd at Tasty World came prepared, as most people in the audience donned sunglasses and clothing one could catch on an episode of Soul Train. The band was dressed equally garishly, sporting faux furs and the flashy stuff known as “bling.” Even microphones were equipped with spinning rims.

However, Bling isn’t just a group of white kids making a parody of black music. And this was not your traditional hip-hop show in the sense that these guys actually make the music they play. Instead of just a mixing board of samples and one or more people rapping over synthetic sounds, Bling brings something to the stage that is missing in many hip-hop shows: instruments.

Featuring Daddy Delicious on vocals and cowbell, Flexible One on bass and guitar, Magic 10,000 on keyboards and 808, Freakay on guitar and bass, J-Vegas, AKA Da Ticklah’, on drums and samples, with Carrieoke providing the backup vocals and Man Beast on percussion, it’s a complete band fueled by funk. Stylistically, Bling evokes many of the elements of good funk music lacking from today’s artists who claim to be influenced by such bands as Sly and the Family Stone, Ohio Players and, heck, even Prince. Incorporating the backbeat rhythm of classic funk with intricate polyrhythms, Bling sounds more old school than it appears. Lyrically, the group sounds more like the Fu-Schnickens than 50 Cent by blending comedy with astute observations about pop culture while maintaining the rap mantra of money, women, cars and clothes. Onstage, the band didn’t shy away from making as big a spectacle as possible, utilizing all the instruments at their disposal, including a cowbell and bongos. But the show wouldn’t be complete without audience participation. During one particularly rambunctious number, dozens of keychains went up in the air as Carrieoke commanded us to “shake, shake, shake.” Bling humored the audience even more by covering Kanye West’s “Gold Digger.” Bling ended the night with the highly anticipated song “Spinners.” The crowd sang in unison, “Everybody else is rollin’ on dubs,” while, both onstage and off, people began jumping up in the air in time with the band’s chanting. After the final note was played, cheering drowned out the last sentiments of the band as they descended off stage. The funk had left the building.
-Charley Lee
Southeastern Performer
Dec, 2006 -

"Crass Parody? Affectionate Homage?"

"Bling the Children Back Home is a perplexing band. I saw a show for the first time in the summer of 2004, and was immediately turned off. It wasn't because Bling the Children Back Home was an all-white hip hop/ funk band, working in primarily black genres. It wasn't because the members' stage outfits, which included ridiculous hats, gaudy tracksuits and oversized accessories, were so garish. And it certainly wasn't because of the terrible name. (After all, just like Teenage Meth Lab or Neutral Milk Hotel, everything ends up sounding okay given time.)
What bothered me the most about the band was its strict adherence to sending up hip hop cliches. Champagne, cars, jewelry: all were overtly referenced in the lyrics in an over-the-top parody of the genre's mainstream excesses, but I felt that Bling the Children Back Home was letting its chosen form dictate its content. It would be like if rock bands still only sang about cars and girls. All the musicians involved were heavily skilled in deep funk, booming hip hop and nimble lyricism, but they were holding themselves back. If they could play the music so well, why hide behind a front? I took it as an insecure defense mechanism; they could deflect any harsh criticism by simply saying, "Hey, we're not taking it seriously." Emo bands have done a lot to damage music, but the worst thing they've done is make people afraid of sincerity. I wanted to see these talents expanded beyond the predictable.

It's two years later now, and the band that got its start at DIY venues and late-night house parties has grown. And I've come around to appreciating what this group does, primarily because Bling now seems so sure of itself. Though it's still a flashy send-up of hip hop, Bling has figured out how to make it work: not by scaling back its excesses, but by cranking them up even further. There's no more middle ground for Bling the Children Back Home, and no more insecurity. The band's confidence and stage presence validate its jabs at the genre, although there are still those who, as a fellow audience member said to me one night at the Caledonia, think the band's performing "in virtual blackface."
"This has always been a prickly issue, and I'm not sure why, because I feel we've always made it pretty obvious what side of the fence we are on… It makes perfect sense for us to rub some people the wrong way upon first exposure," says Richard Vinal, Bling's flashy frontman, who performs under the name Greazy V. "Racism is such a hot-button reaction with most Americans, that of course when an all-white band pokes fun at certain trends that exist in hip hop culture, some people automatically see it as racist. If we were going to satirize '80s hair metal, or maybe boy bands, no one would think twice about it. We just like hip hop and funk flavors the most, so those are the types of songs we naturally came up with.
"All the songs are about having fun and getting ridiculous, and if anyone is getting offended, they are taking everything a little too seriously. When I say that I want to shampoo a girl's hair with champagne, I really mean it. There is nothing disrespectful or crass about this. It's a beautiful image."

Vinal is backed by a number of musicians who also play in other local bands: Electa Villain, Dubconscious and Grogus all contribute membership. Magic 10,000 (Chris Byron) is on the keys and 808; the Dark Side (Joel Byron) plays bass and guitar; J-Vegas (Jay Murphy) is on drums; Carrieoke (Carrie Coker) handles back-up singing; Free-K (Ck Koch) is on guitar and bass, while Greazy V (Vinal) handles rapping and cowbell. It's a free-wheeling, open-ended performance by people as dedicated to the audience's pleasure as they are their own.
"My thinking is, if you're gonna put on a show and friends and strangers are going to show up, then you might as well pull out all the stops," Vinal says. "Get some wild projections and strobe lights. Do we know anyone that bellydances or breakdances? Let's get them up there, too, and make a show out of it. Have I ever broken a guitar all over the stage during a song's climax? Well, if not, then for god's sakes do it tonight. There's no telling how long we'll get the chance to do these things, so why not try all the madness?"

Bling the Children Back Home spent some time earlier this year recording with John Keane, in hopes of turning out an EP by this fall. Vinal says the band faced a number of challenges when converting high-energy and extremely visual live performances to a recorded format. "It has been difficult, as almost all our songs were originally born out of improvisation and have only been played in live settings for fun," he says. "So going into the studio to turn them into polished tracks has been frustrating at times, as it's difficult to record the spark that exists in unselfconscious performance. So, we recorded everything live to combat this, with all of us performing at the same time just like in a show. We only had two days to do the basic recordings, so since then, we have been going back over them in our home studio and smoothing out the corners and punching in little candy here and there."

A new record label is in the works for the family of bands that center around the New Town section of Barber Street - the same place where the band's home studio is, and the same place that hosted the infamous late-night barn parties for much of 2005. Acts such as Count, Up Until Now, Electa Villain and Classic City Breaks plan to contribute recordings.
"The album title we've settled on for now reflects our whole secret mission for the band," says Vinal. "We want to save society from its current cultural decay, but we knew no one would listen to us unless we spoke in the song form which they already enjoyed. So we chose bling-bling music. Hidden inside our flashy songs are nuggets of wisdom and truth which are like little seeds of hope that plant themselves in the souls of our unsuspecting fans. We are sheep in wolves' clothing, pied pipers of love. The title we've settled on for now is Lead Them Not Astray."

This weekend offers two chances to catch Bling the Children Back Home. The first is on Saturday at a benefit for the Athens Justice Project. The non-profit organization provides legal representation and social work counseling to indigent men and women charged with crimes. Called "Let Freedom Bling," the show begins at 2:30 p.m. on the patio of Farm 255, and a silent auction takes place inside the restaurant to raise funds. As it's a daytime performance, the band will have to retool its vibrant show a bit. "I think lights will be out of the question," says Vinal, "but we'll go out of our way to make sure the stage is still interesting to the eye." The band will also close out this year's Human Rights Festival on Sunday night at 8:15 p.m. in College Square.

-Chris Hassiotis, Flagpole, May 2006 - Chris Hassiotis

"Club Notes: Burnin' Basement"

"Bling the Children Back Home is the wall of six-piece funkadelic hip-hop, greeting me as I walk back into the 40 Watt, getting Wednesday night going with a blast. Joel Byron is in a very different guise, dressed as a blingin' samurai, adding vocal & guitar support to two medallion-wearing white rappers, a multitude of assorted keyboards and masses of percussion, and a pretty sizable crowd is digging the funky groove. Most of the songs have a great sense of fun, featuring lyrics like "Flexin and Sexin' with the No.1 Texan," performed with an inflatable sex-doll bearing an uncanny resemblance to George Dubya; other songs like "Big Rigs Roll" are just great-heave hip hop. George and Bill Clinton would be grinnin', as am I."

-Ben Gerard, Flagpole, June 9 2004 - The Flagpole


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


These days, people just want that bling. We’ve come to give them what they want. Serving up party-fueled, charismatic and subversive bling-bling, we come with one goal: to make hips gyrate.

"Hip-hop not for the uptight traditionalist?" That's what one reviewer said. "Funkadelic party music?" There's another description. "White, medallion-wearing rappers," Yes, we got that one as well, but it's much more than that...

First and foremost, Bling is a party band. We're not stiff performers looking bored and singing cliche songs with tired themes. We believe that people want entertainment when they come to a show, and when we get up on stage, we aim to please. Second, Bling is a social experiment of the most subversive nature. Listen to the lyrics, watch the moves, check the threads... We strive to be more than meets the eye.

From starting out playing late night house parties around 4am, we've now rocked about every venue in Athens, GA multiple times. (40 Watt, Georgia Theatre, Caledonia, Tasty World, and more...) We’ve also hit Atlanta, St.Simon’s, Jacksonville, Chattanooga and just recently, played two shows with NYC's Peelander-Z. “What’s it sound like?” We mix it up like P-Funk hanging out with Ween and The Beastie Boys on a day that Beck and Outkast decide to show up unexpectedly. In our wildest dreams, we are Curtis Mayfield, Digable Planets, 50 Cent, and Frank Sinatra all rolled into one...

What is "bling" really? It's the shiny, flashy stuff that everyone wants. We roll with new methods to satisfy both modern and ancient urges. We won't be pigeonholed, we refuse to bow down, and demand that you dance. Our homebase is in Athens, GA and everyone's all a buzz. Come find out why.